Minister of Health John Boyce. (FP)

Minister of Health, John Boyce. (FP)

There is a need for workers in elderly care facilities to be exposed to continuous training.

Minister of Health, John Boyce, made this point yesterday during the Advisory Inspection Committee’s Workshop entitled: Safe-guarding the Foundation of this Country: Care of the Elderly, at the Pan American Health Organization’s Headquarters, Dayrells Road, Christ Church.

Mr. Boyce told the elderly care providers gathered that there was a need for ongoing training to take place.

“Recent events have shown us that there is considerable work to be done in this area, like any other area. We need to train and retrain our owners and operators to the very highest standards. Monitoring and maintaining these standards are also very critical,” he underscored.

The Health Minister further noted that training was necessary as it was critical for health care providers to be proactive in preparing for an ever-increasing elderly population.

Offering Government’s support, the Minister added: “The Ministry of Health is therefore committed to working with the owners of all private elderly care facilities, health professionals and commercial entities, regarding the key areas of legislation which govern Nursing Homes, Senior Citizens’ Homes and Private Hospitals, and would wish for compliance in all aspects of Government legislation and regulations.”

In addition, Mr. Boyce noted that greater consideration needed to be taken in ensuring the country’s elderly community was well cared for, as that population was a “treasure of knowledge [and] a treasure of information”.

“It is often said that the character of a society is determined by the way it treats its most vulnerable members. Please do not let us lose sight of this critical ideal…I encourage you to treat our elderly with dignity and respect,” he urged.

The Advisory and Inspection Committee conducts regular inspections of nursing homes, senior citizens’ homes and private hospitals. This includes homes in the Alternative Care of the Elderly Programme, a contractual arrangement between the Ministry of Health and the private sector to provide another avenue for care of the elderly.

At present, there are 132 participants in the programme, housed in 30 senior citizens’ homes across the island.

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